Saturday, August 23, 2008

Inspirational Muslims at Beijing

Since Beijing has been in everyone's psyche lately, Mudpie shares what caught his eye. Sport is an inherently Muslim activity, in its emphasis discovering the beauty and limits of the human physique. For every athlete that partakes in a game that on our screens lasts a few minutes, or even seconds, we do not see the thousands of hours of dedication, hard work, injury and emotion that went into it before.
The Muslim world is not up there with the glamour nations llike China, Russia and the USA in medal tallies, but it has its share of inspirations. For as much as sports is becoming more and more commercialised now, here are a few Muslims whom Mudpie believes are inspirational stories in themselves.
Two women athletes from the Arab world, who stand strong and free in the face of other veiled, cloistered ones.
A swimmer who had clocked faster than Phelps, from an Arab desert nation. He was suspended for amphetamine use, and had his world championships stripped in disgrace. However, he did not retire in ignominy, but came back after the suspension and proved that he was great even without the drugs. That took courage and determination.
An Iranian fighter from the earthquake city of Bam who sold his medals to charity for eathquake victims.
The least we could do is know who they are.

Hadi Saei Bonehkohal Bostan Abad (Persian: هادی ساعی بونه كُهل} , born June 10, 1976 ) is an Iranian Taekwondo athlete who became the most successful iranian athlete in Olympic history after snatching gold in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He competed in the Men's 68 kg (featherweight) at the 2004 Summer Olympics and won the gold medal. In addition, He competed in the Men's 80 kg at the 2008 Summer Olympics and won his second olympic gold. In the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney he won bronze.

Competitor for Flag of Iran Iran
Men’s Taekwondo
Olympic Games
Bronze 2000 Sydney 68 kg
Gold 2004 Athens 68 kg
Gold 2008 Beijing 80 kg

In the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, Saei's gold medal was really important for all Iranian athletes who participated in this year's Olympic games. Saei was the last Iranian athlete to compete. Iran's hope to avoid its worst Olympics showings was resting on Saei's shoulders. By winning his gold medal, Saei ensured that Iran was leaving Beijing with a better result than their poor showing at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, where they bagged only one bronze medal. Full results of Iran's medals in the history of the Summer Olympic games can be found in the 'Medal tables' in Iran at the Olympics.

He was born in Tehran, Iran. He has been practicing Tae Kwon Do since he was six years old. Having previously competed in Lightweight (67-72 kg), he is the 1999 World Champion and 2003 World Championship silver medallist. When Iranian town of Bam, Iran was devastated in the 2003 earthquake, Saei put his medals on auction to raise money for the victims.

He has been World Champion in the Tae Kwon Do World Championships 7 times and was recently awarded the title of 'Best Tae Kwon Do Player of all Time' by the International Board. Currently, he is a senior at the Iran Physical Education University.

He has suffered great personal tragedy, having lost his brother and father in the same year, and the death of his younger brother, who succumbed to cancer the following year.

Hasna Benhassi (Arabic: حسنة بنحسي‎; born June 1, 1978 in Marrakesh) is a Moroccan middle distance athlete.
Competitor for Flag of Morocco Morocco
Women's athletics
Olympic Games
Silver 2004 Athens 800 m
Bronze 2008 Beijing 800 m
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Benhassi finished third winning the bronze medal. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, she finished second to Kelly Holmes in the women's 800 meters. In August 2005 she won a silver medal in the 800 meters at the 2005 World Championships in Athletics. She placed 8th in the 800 meters at the 2000 Summer Olympics.In 2005, Benhassi was selected as the best sportsperson in Morocco by a survey conducted by the Moroccan Radio among 43 press institutions.

Oussama "Ous" Mellouli (Arabic: أسامة الملولي; born February 16, 1984) is a Tunisian swimmer who competes in the freestyle and medley events.

Competitor for Flag of Tunisia Tunisia
Olympic Games
Gold 2008 Beijing 1500 m freestyle
He currently is an African Record holder, and trains with the USA club based at the University of Southern California, where he went to school and swam, collegiately. He swam at the 2004 Olympics and 2008 Games. He was named Tunisian Sportsman of the Year in 2003 and 2004. Mellouli was the gold medalist in the 1500 metre freestyle at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

On December 1, 2006, Oussama Mellouli beat Michael Phelps in the 400m IM at the US Open in West Lafayette. Mellouli clocked 4:15.61, ahead of Phelps with 4:18.32.

Soraya Haddad (born September 30, 1984) is an Algerian judoka.
Competitor for Flag of Algeria Algeria
Bronze 2008 Beijing Judo -52 kg

She won the bronze medal in the Judo -52 kg weight class at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She was African champion three times: 2004, 2005 and 2008, and also a bronze medalist in the -48 kg category in the 2005 World Championships in Egypt. She was born in El-Kseur, Algeria.


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